we could have signed 29 but only signed 27
I'm nearly certain that we could only sign 27 because we could only backcount 2 because the SEC treats LOIs like initial counters for these purposes. So the answer is 25, including Lawson if he accepts the greyshirt, and as pointed out that would take quite a bit of attrition.
My only reservation, and it's extremely small, with backcounting 2 is that I can read the rules like the rest of you and 4 seems like it should be allowed. But the SEC can implement this rule as it chooses as long as it is more restrictive, and the evidence strongly supports that they have restricted it.
First, this is from an article published in Jan 2012 ( SEC Clarifies Rules on Back Counting Recruits
“If a player signs, he counts without regard to whether or not he actually enrolls,” SEC spokesman Charles Bloom said in an e-mail Monday. “ ‘Back counting’ is only permitted for mid-year enrollees who are able to be included as an initial counter for the academic year in which they enroll. ‘Back counting’ is an artificial term for this discussion and not accurate as the question is about the signing limit.”
When I saw this for the first time, I didn't think he really answered the question because of his little diatribe on back-counting. Now, with all the other evidence, I believe he did answer the question with the first sentence. The other evidence I speak of includes:
o Reports that Ponamsky and Shea have said we only back counted 2,
o we signed exactly 27
o Miles saying we were thru
o Lawson (we could sign him now with no penalty if 4 were true)
o Rumors of a grey shirt offer to Willis, which is the only thing we could offer after signing day if 2 were true.
It's time we come to grips with how the SEC implements this rule.